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Janch Partal – Theatre Review

Supriya Newar

A row of toilet cisterns and a dozen men dressed in checked Bermudas and vests circling them opened Vinay Sharma’s premiere show of Janch Partal at Padatik Little Theatre on 11th October’18.

Based on Gogol’s ‘The Government Inspector’ (1835), this two-hour long Hindi comedy written by Sanjay Sahay stems from the premise that human error and corruption are likely to last as long as the human race and one of the best ways to tackle them is to laugh at it.

One may agree or disagree with the premise but the play doesn’t fail to deliver the laughs. An ensemble cast of nineteen members with names such as Lota Prasad, Chilamchi Miyan, Gobar Singh, Jhulan and more, including those who only lend chorus support, put up a consummate performance that keeps the audience well engaged.

The plot is a fairly simple one. A corrupt administration in a small town presumably in Bihar, fears a ‘Janch Partal’ or an investigation by an incognito senior officer who has been deputed from New Delhi to look into their affairs. The Mayor of the town along with his cronies spares no effort in ‘managing’ this senior officer, attending to his every whim and fancy. The only farce in the situation is that the man who they take to be the officer is nothing more than a small time broke crook himself who finally flees after collecting his spoils.

Despite the plot and even a lot of the writing being quite predictable, it is the direction as well as the entire cast that shoulder the performance. The Mayor himself along with the mistaken officer Kumar, played by Basfore Rohit and Yash Saraf respectively, both leave you duly entertained. Kalpana Jha as Imarti Devi, the Mayor’s second wife excels in delivering the ridiculous. Ofcourse, Padatik’s intimate ambience that allows you to absorb a performance up close helps as always.